CSDE/RESC Alliance Structured Literacy Series: Systematic Teaching of Basic Literacy Skills – VIRTUAL Workshop

The Connecticut State Department of Education, in collaboration with the RESC Alliance, is sponsoring three cohorts of a Structured Literacy Series: Systematic Teaching of Basic Literacy Skills. Please see the flyer for additional information related to the training.

Join us for this FREE, virtual workshop and learn systematic, structured methods for teaching decoding, encoding, oral, and written expression to students with learning disorders and specific language disabilities.

Participants will:
• Define and model strategies to teach students who have specific reading disabilities
• Identify skills needed to develop basic proficiency in reading and spelling
• Learn the developmental progression of oral language skills that prepare students for reading proficiency

Please visit the CREC Events page at www.crec.org/events to register for one of the cohorts. For questions or assistance with registration, please contact Lisa Fiano by e-mail at lfiano@crec.org or by phone at 860-524-4040.

Structured Literacy Program Training Series Professional Learning Opportunity – Orton-Gillingham Introductory Training

The Connecticut State Department of Education, in collaboration with the State Education Resource Center (SERC), is sponsoring a training series featuring structured literacy approaches. These research-based approaches are designed to work with students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)/Dyslexia and other decoding challenges. The first professional learning opportunity offered VIRTUALLY in this series is the Orton-Gillingham Introductory Training*.

*This 30-hour virtual training will be held on 10 separate days, in three-hour sessions, on each of the following days: Tuesday, November 10, Thursday, November 12, Friday, November 13, Wednesday, November 18, Thursday, November 19, Friday, November 20, Wednesday, December 2, Thursday, December 3, Wednesday, December 9, and Thursday, December 10, 2020.

For additional information related to the training, registration, and required materials participants will need for the training, please visit the following link: https://ctserc.org/events?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D148596163 .

The Science of Autism Talk Series

The Southern Connecticut State University, Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders presents: The Science of Autism Talk Series. Please see the following information for two of the series’ events!

SCSU Autism – Complexities of Early Identification Using Screening Instruments presentation flyer

SCSU Autism – Diagnostic Complexities for Autism in the Age of DSM-5 virtual meeting flyer

CT Department of Education Announces Procurement of New Statewide Special Education Data Management System

 (HARTFORD) – The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) today announced, after a thorough procurement process, the department is entering into a partnership with the Public Consulting Group (PCG) to support its goals and vision of developing a comprehensive statewide Special Education Data System (CT-SEDS) to make available to all of its local school district partners. CSDE’s commitment to improved efficiency for the state’s special education general monitoring and supervision system will provide numerous benefits for Connecticut’s more than 84,000 students with disabilities, their families and educators.

“At the forefront of our commitment to ensuring all students are provided a high quality education is prioritizing equity and access for our most vulnerable students including students with disabilities,” said Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona. “The implementation of this system will allow local school districts to redeploy funds toward a streamlined special education data collection process and student based programming needs that were previously used to support an online IEP system. This statewide initiative will reduce the overall reporting burdens on local school districts and schools a necessary resource to better serve students with disabilities and their families. We are excited to partner with PCG and get this extremely important work underway.”

CT-SEDS adaptive electronic Individual Education Program (IEP) document was designed to improve format and flow of information with intuitive, easy to use displays. The new system includes a parent portal for families to access their student’s IEP and other important information as well as a language translation feature to ensure that parents receive information in their native language.  The new and improved document will also assist planning and placement teams (PPTs) in navigating the special education process, leading to the development of high quality IEPs for Connecticut’s students.  School districts will also have access to additional modules within the system to support Scientific Research Based Interventions (SRBI)/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Section 504, Gifted and Talented, and Medicaid Reimbursement processes.

“Public Consulting Group is excited to partner with the Connecticut State Department of Education in the development of its new statewide special education data management system,” said Grant Blair, Director of PCG’s Education practice. “Our team is successfully supporting similar efforts in a handful of other states and we look forward to bringing that hands-on experience and lessons learned to Connecticut. We’re thrilled to embark on this project that will ultimately lead to improved student outcomes across the State.”

The 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years will be devoted to standing up and customizing the system to meet Connecticut’s needs. This complex endeavor will involve piloting the system with select districts, making necessary adjustments to system functionality and, to the greatest extent possible, migrating historical data. Ensuring a thoughtful and deliberate implementation timeline will allow for extensive system testing, comprehensive end-user training, and provide time for existing school district software contracts to expire in advance of full implementation during the 2022-23 school year.

CAS Special Education Executive Coaching for 2020 – 2021

ANNOUNCEMENT! Special education administrators may now apply to receive a CAS Special Education Executive Coach for the 2020 – 2021 academic year at no cost to the district (application here: CAS Competitive Grant Application – Coaching Support for Special Education Administrators). Applications may be submitted electronically, however, two hard copies must be received at CAS by September 11, 2020.

The primary focus of coaching support is to assist administrators with the reopening of schools. A committee of special education coaches developed a five-part series entitled “Special Education Considerations as Schools Reopen” which includes a district self-assessment. This document which is posted on the CAS website (http://www.casciac.org/) will be used with the administrator in developing an action plan. The coach will assist the administrator with the details of ensuring that effective programming and services for students with disabilities are achieved. The coach will work directly with the teachers and pupil personnel that the administrator deems necessary. Coaches can also assist with planning PPT meetings. Differentiated support will be provided based upon individual, school and district needs. In addition to working toward an educationally sound, safe and healthy school year, coaches also help the administrator enhance time management, organizational skills and communication strategies. Targeted outcomes include timely responses and resolutions to compliance related matters, improved communication and increased staff and parent confidence and satisfaction. Initial visit will be off site and until it is permissible for coaches to enter schools, coaching will be conducted remotely and through email and cell communication.

Please distribute this information as appropriate!

Principal’s Roundtable for Preschool and Kindergarten Administrators

On Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. there will be a Principal’s Roundtable for Preschool and Kindergarten Administrators. Please see the flyer for this event here: Principal’s Roundtable for Preschool and Kindergarten Administrators Flyer_ Session 2

Please pass this information on to building principals and district early childhood leaders!

What is the Closer Look Forum?

Closer Look Forum is a different kind of online learning experience. Created by New England Assistive Technology (NEAT), it is designed to give participants a deeper understanding of Assistive Technology (AT). One day a week for one month in October, you will have the opportunity to engage in focused topics that will help increase independence in your students and loved ones. The first two weeks will involve topics under the theme of Learning, and the second two weeks will cover topics under the theme of Living. Each topic will be divided into two meetings. The first meeting will be presentation-based and led by an AT specialist. Attendees will have a week to digest the topic and submit questions and comments. That feedback will then be discussed during a “closer look” second meeting. Take a moment to review the Closer Look Virtual Conference Flyer here.

COVID-19 Resources for Families and Educators

On Monday, August 17th, the Connecticut State Department of Education released a consolidated list of resources that have been shared with stakeholders over the past several months. A portion of that list may be found below specifically related to COVID-19 Family and Educator Resources as well as Connecticut’s Plan for reopening schools; including subsequent addendums to that plan. 

COVID-19 Resource Main Page for Families and Educators: https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/COVID19/COVID-19-Resources-for-Families-and-Educators

Links to the Reopen Guidance Document and Addendums:

Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together

Addendum 1 Temporarily Opting into Voluntary Remote Learning Due to COVID-19

Addendum 2 COVID Guidance and Considerations for Preschool Located in Public Schools

Addendum 3 Fall Reopening Resource Document for Students with High Needs

Addendum 4 Interim Guidance for Decision-Making Regarding the Use of In-Person, Hybrid (Blended), or Remote Learning Models in Connecticut Schools during COVID-19

Addendum 5 Interim Guidance for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios in Connecticut School Districts

Addendum 6-Reopen Guidance for Educating Students with Disabilities

Addendum 7 COVID-19 Reopening Considerations for Connecticut K–12 Music Programs

Reopening Guidance for Educating Students with Disabilities

On August 12, 2020, The CSDE, Bureau of Special Education issued new guidance to the field related to educating students with disabilities. This guidance is issued as Addendum 6 to The Connecticut State Department of Education’s school reopening publication Adapt – Advance – Achieve – Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together.

Please see this important guidance related to students with disabilities at https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Digest/2020-21/Addendum6-Reopen-Guidance-for-Educating-Students-with-Disabilities.pdf

Supporting Parents/Caregivers of Students with High Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic Resource Guide & Webinar Series

Supporting Parents/Caregivers of Students with High Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic Resource Guide & Webinar Series

The Bureau of Special Education is excited to share with you some Professional Support Series webinars and resources, which can be found on the CSDE Professional Support Series for Families webpage and CSDE Professional Support Series for Districts webpage (in the Guidance on Special Education section).

Overview and Getting Started Section

The CT State Department of Education, the RESC Alliance, the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC), and the CT Association of Private Special Education Facilities (CAPSEF) are collaborating to provide guidance, tools, and resources for parents and caregivers of students with high needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this recorded session, we will provide families and educators with overview of a new resource designed for parents/caregivers to support your efforts to engage your child/young adult in continued educational opportunities in the home environment.

Presenters: Colleen Hayles, Education Consultant, CSDE; Alycia M. Trakas, Education Consultant, CSDE; Deborah Richards, Director of Student Services, CREC; Nicole Natale, Senior Education Specialist, CREC

Watch the video


 Future Webinar Series Sections include:

  • Art
  • Life-Skills and Self-Help Skills;
  • Communication Skills;
  • Literacy;
  • Math;
  • Science, Social Studies, and Current Events;
  • Physical Activity and Mobility;
  • Sensory Activities; and
  • Play and Leisure.